Keeping a construction business successful in a difficult economy often means working in any weather, despite the toll it may take on your fleet. Colder temperatures, sleet, snow and salt can all harm your compact construction equipment in winter — and failing to take adequate precautions can lead to excess wear and tear.
What You Need to Know to Prepare Your Compact Construction Equipment for Winter
1. Fluids and Filtration
It’s no stretch to say that engine and hydraulic oil is the lifeblood of your heavy equipment. Extreme cold weather affects the viscosity of these important fluids, which can lead to increased wear and potential failure. Consult Cat® guidelines to confirm you are using the right type of oil for the winter. This is also a good time to check and replace your oil and air filters as necessary, and to perform basic fuel system maintenance.
2. Batteries and Electronics
Batteries are another important component that can be strongly impacted by cold temperatures. While running in cold weather won’t significantly affect the life of a battery, it does put additional stress on uncharged components. While you may not notice the effects of a weak battery in the summer, you may have trouble starting or maintaining sufficient power for your equipment’s important electrical components during the winter. To prep a backhoe, skid steer or other compact equipment for winter work, make sure the battery is fully charged and that all connections and cables are free of corrosion.
Undercarriage components incur more wear and tear than any other part of a backhoe or excavator. This is especially true in the winter, when slick conditions place additional demands on your tires, suspension and frame. The best thing you can do to keep your equipment working its best is to be diligent about regular inspections. Check daily for loose parts, low tire pressure, debris, cracking or any other signs of damage. You should also schedule a thorough, professional inspection annually to prep any compact construction equipment for winter work.
Most importantly, make sure your operators know to give your equipment time to warm up before use. Like any machine, running cold can cause a skid steer or backhoe to blow a hose, o-ring or other component, leading to costly machine failure and unanticipated downtime.
The Importance of Planned Maintenance for Compact Construction Equipment
Planned maintenance should be an ongoing project. The best way to get your construction equipment ready for winter is to keep it working its best year-round. Often, the problems that appear during winter are more indicative of neglect suffered over the course of the year than the specific risks posed by colder temperatures and poor weather.
If you’re not already following your equipment’s scheduled service intervals, give the Carolina Cat service team a call today. We can put together a comprehensive planned maintenance plan for your entire fleet that simplifies your service requirements and saves you money, all year long.